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Why take HIV meds if I don’t feel sick?

Dr. Demetre: I was diagnosed with HIV five years ago. I’m feeling fine. But my doctor is saying I should start treatment again. Do I really need to if I’m not sick?
Dr. David: I’m a doctor.
Dr. Demetre: I’m Dr. Demetre.
Dr. David: And I’m Dr. David.
Dr. Demetre: We’re HIV doctors.
Dr. David: And we’re here to answer your questions on HIV and sexual health.
Dr. Demetre: Treating your HIV is a critical step, and it’s not about how you feel. So something that I compare HIV to all the time is high blood pressure. High blood pressure, if someone has it, you treat it and you prevent heart attacks, strokes, and all sorts of other complications. You wouldn’t wait for the heart attack to start treating your, your high blood pressure. We know for a fact that treating HIV prevents AIDS. We also know that treating HIV prevents the complications of AIDS, which can be really devastating and ultimately HIV meds save lives. They have fewer side effects and they’re accessible. But there is a bonus. A little secret benefit to this, which is that if you treat your HIV, you can prevent transmitting HIV to other people. So there are so many reasons to be treated. And there is no reason to wait.

Not feeling sick? Wondering whether you need those HIV meds? Dr. Demetre explains why maintaining your HIV treatment is important.

To get the full health and preventive benefits of antiretrovirals, it is important that an individual with HIV stays connected to medical care and continues to take their medications as prescribed, even if they do not feel sick.

Click here to lean more about the benefits of HIV treatment. 


#AskTheHIVDoc is a video series from Greater Than HIV featuring top HIV doctors providing answers to commonly-asked questions about HIV prevention, testing and treatment.

This information is shared for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The views expressed are those of the featured medical professional and reflect information available to that professional at time of filming. Always consult a health care provider for any personal health decision.

While we make every effort to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the information reflects the most up-to-date research. Also, please note the views expressed by individuals who appear in Greater Than HIV videos and other content are their own and are not made on behalf of any groups/organizations/associations.